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08.18.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Disney takes environmental heat on throwaway DVD technology

Environmentalists are protesting the Walt Disney Company’s plans to sell disposable DVD discs of movies. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, a division of Disney, is set to market movies on special DVDs, called EZ-Ds, in four test markets in September.



Some environmental advocates say the new disposable DVDs from Disney will cause health harzards. To solve the potential problem, Disney will give consumers prepaid envelope to mail expired discs to GreenDisk for recycling. And those who return six discs directly to Buena Vista will get a seventh free.

The DVDs are sealed in an airtight package. Once opened, the disc is playable for two days. A viewer can watch the film as often as desired during that time period. When the time expires, bonding resin on the DVD reacts with the air around it, making the disc unreadable. Since the DVD does not need to be returned, video rental consumers don’t have to return the disc or worry about late fees.

Environmental advocates say throwaway DVDs will result in health hazards and increased plastic wastes in landfills. Responding to the protests, Buena Vista said the company is sensitive to environmental issues and promised to offer recycling options for the discs. Consumers can use a prepaid envelope to mail expired discs to GreenDisk for recycling. And those who return six discs directly to Buena Vista will get a seventh free.

Flexplay Technologies, manufacturer of the EZ-D, said it will join with local environmental groups to pass along the recycling message. Opponents responded that it is unlikely that users of disposable DVDs will take the time to recycle, as the product is targeted to those who want to avoid a return trip to the video store.

For more information visit www.flexplay.com or read Disney covers bases with throw-away DVDs.

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